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Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Forestdale AL area and throughout Alabama, you'll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you select the college that is ideal for you. That's why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program's Standing? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT college's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Forestdale AL physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.

What is the School's Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college's job placement program, particularly in the Forestdale AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it's an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It's important that the college you choose provides both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have associations with Forestdale AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Forestdale health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Forestdale AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance may be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Forestdale AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.

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